Pete Dolloway was an electrician from Sheldon, Birmingham. We say “was” because on the 25th of October, something happened that changed his life forever.

For Pete, 36 years old and married with kids, it was just another Sunday. He was sat enjoying the London-based NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, contemplating his 4:30 am start on Monday morning. It had been a bad year for Pete; his electrician’s van had been broken into twice, and the idea of yet another early start was hanging over him. Luckily for Pete, he decided to play a $5 PokerStars Spin & Go tournament.

The Right Place at the Right Time


The stars had aligned that day for Pete, as PokerStars happened to be celebrating their one-year anniversary since the launch of their Spin & Go tournaments, which offer players the chance of turning $0.50 into $1 million. The idea behind Spin & Go’s is to offer players a fast paced, three players-max poker tournament where each tournament has a randomly drawn prize pool that can award the player between two and 10,000 times their buy-in. Once players choose their buy-in, and the number of games they want to play, they will be seated at a tournament table until two other players have registered to play. Once all three players are ready, there is a random draw to decide how big the tournament prize pool will be. In the majority of Spin & Go games the winner takes all, unless the game hits one of three high prize tiers; in this case there were three prizes – first, second and third. Nobody walks away empty handed, and on that memorable Sunday in October, with the dread of an early wake up hanging over him, Pete lucked his way in to a $1.2 million Spin & Go jackpot.

At this moment Pete’s life was going to change, the minimum cash prize he would walk away with was 20,000 times the amount he had invested, a very decent $100,000 prize to take away. Pete had been player poker for nine years before this life changing game, and he had signed up to PokerStars with the screenname “prophethicks” in homage to his hero, Bill Hicks.

But before this moment Pete was not a big poker player; he had never played for big money, he hadn’t had much success and the most he had ever cashed for was less than £1000. To Pete, poker was just a hobby, something to flutter on when the moment struck him; he never imagined for one moment that playing a $5 tournament could alter the path of his life so drastically.

Prevailing under Pressure


Now Pete had to concentrate and play for the jackpot. With nerves running through him he called his wife and kids to be at his side. They all knew at that moment that he could bust first and still walk away $100,000, but when you’re that close to $1 million you’ve got to go for it. Pete told himself that this was his chance, not just to change his life but to change the life of his family. In minutes he could go from making enough money to pay the bills, to having enough money to give his family a more comfortable life. A $5 bet was moments away from turning into $1 million, but there were two other players going for that jackpot and Pete needed to beat them.

Not many people will ever get to experience this feeling of knowing that they are standing on the edge of something truly amazing. Probably a one off event, never to be repeated. Time stands still and moves slowly, and for some the adrenaline makes their mind sloppy and mistakes are made, while others become sharp and focused, ready to carry out the task in hand. Luckily for Pete, he experienced the latter. Pete won the $1.2 million Spin & Go jackpot, beating his two opponents and winning the biggest jackpot of the day. From that moment on, nothing will be the same for Pete, or his family.

A Millionaire in Minutes


So what’s in store for Pete now? Well, he is no longer an electrician; as soon as he realized he was a millionaire he called his 4:30 am Monday appointment to apologize and cancel.

Now he has bigger dreams. In the footsteps of his hero, Bill Hicks, Pete has decided to become an aspiring comedian. We’re sure he’ll have a few more flutters on the poker table, but after an event as big as this one we can’t imagine it will ever feel the same for him again. So, the next time you have the chance to take a small risk for a big reward, maybe you’ll think of Pete – the man who was dreading going to work, made a $5 bet and played a game that changed his life forever.

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